A huge piece of the work of minimizing an outbreak of any infectious disease is called contact tracing—it’s the tedious, old-fashioned work of figuring everyone an infected person has come into contact with and then reaching out to those people to warn them and advise them to closely monitor their symptoms and maybe even self quarantine. And we can help with this effort big time by keeping a contact journal of everyone we’ve come into contact with.
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I have Sort of Been Keeping A Contact Journal
It’s very haphazard. About every 7 days, I sit down and try to write down as much as I can remember about who my family and I have seen. And it’s certainly not going to win any awards for prettiness. I have friends who bullet journal and post pics on Instagram of their gorgeous, thoughtful spreads and I love it and admire it. But it’s just not something that I can see myself doing, and that’s ok. Pretty contact journals and chicken-scratch contact journals both serve the same purpose.
Do Your Part To Stop The Spread
As society and the economy re-opens contact tracing is one of the best tools we have from keeping new cases of the virus from developing into a full-blown outbreak. If start keeping a contact journal of who we’ve spent time with, the task gets a lot easier. It’s how we stop rampant transmission. And that means a lot fewer people get sick.
When the virus first hit the US, public health officials carefully combed back through the recent contact history of every newly diagnosed case of COVID-19. But then the cases rose so quickly that we essentially gave up trying to do it—we didn’t have the humanpower for it. There was an outbreak of the virus at a party in Westport, Connecticut, for example, that left local disease experts with lists of hundreds of potential contacts — and they gave up on trying to track them all down.
I mean, we were taken by surprise. We got overwhelmed. OK. But now, corona is part of our reality. We can’t keep corona to a dull roar over the long term without it. Kind of like filling out the census, if we all do our part to record our reality, we make things work better for everybody.
Google and Apple are working on apps that will log everyone your cellphone comes in close contact with—I don’t know about you, but I think that’s mega-creepy. I’m not a luddite, necessarily, but I’m definitely NOT an early adapter and I’d much rather keep my on contact log, thank you very much!
Daily Tiny Assignment
Which leads me to your tiny assignment. I think you can see this one coming.
Start keeping a contact journal if you haven’t already. The thing is, you have to remember to do it. It’s not easy, remembering all this new stuff we’re supposed to do, like wear a mask outside. Have hand sanitizer at the ready all the time. I mostly only leave the house to go on dog walks, and pretty much every time I have to come right back inside and grab my mask—and they’re all in a box right by the front door. I don’t think it’s just me who struggles to build a new daily habit, right? So just do your best. You might forget for a few days but that’s ok, juts fill in what you can and start again. Think of it like your AAA card–if you have one, then you’re less likely to need it.
Then go on social media and let other people know you’ve started it. Tag me on Twitter or Instagram. I’m going to be posting an image that says “I started my contact journal to help keep the curve flat” on these accounts and you can repost it if you like.
Calm The Eff Down
I spent the previous three weeks of the podcast going over 21 simple ways you can Calm the Eff Down, so you can cope better, live better, and love more during a global pandemic. I put the best of those episodes into a mini ebook that you can download FOR FREE. And I hope it’ll help you in the weeks and months to come. Go get it now!